Earlier this spring, the National Educational Technology Technical Working Group published a draftÂ National Educational Technology Plan.The plan is entitled “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology” and it asserts that:
Just as technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and work, we must leverage it to provide engaging and powerful learning experiences, content, and resources and assessments that measure student achievement in more complete, authentic, and meaningful ways. Technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levelsâ€¦. Achieving twice the content expertise and competencies in half the time at half the cost through online learning systems seems very possible, but it will require careful design, development, and testing.
The draft plan defines national goals in technology for K-12 educators, and then outlines the structure for investing in R&D in order to improve learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity for all students. George Siemensa at elearnspace.org commented that the report
reads like a somewhat random mix of concepts that have been discussed in various blogs and forums over the lastÂ decade: connected learning, 21st century skills, data-driven improvement, learning networks, life-wide learning, etc. Nothing new here. What is new, however, is the organization publishing the document: U.S. Department of Education. Many a school reformer, conference presenter, and consultant—not to mention tech companies—will be salivating over this report. The drawback is the approach taken if you proclaim connected, collaborative learning is the future, then why not demonstrate it in how you create the report? Why not collaborate rather than deliver it whole? The difficulty with connected learning is that itâ€™s almost impossible to understand unless you directly experience it. And, it’s always easier to talk about it than it is to practice it.”
The current plan is just a draft, with no real commitment for funding yet.With the support of the Department of Education, it does offer some hope that the national government will encourage R&D and collaboration between educators and technology developers. If we agree that to develop inquisitive, creative, resourceful thinkers; informed citizens; effective problem solvers; groundbreaking pioneers; and visionary leaders—our schools must be incubators of exploration and invention, then we must pay attention to this and future discussions and offer innovative solutions.